Arsenal profit from Man City draw to return to the top

18 Feb 2023
Aston Villa v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Gunners fight back to beat Aston Villa 4-2 and go above Man City after their draw with Nott'm Forest

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A second-half fightback from Arsenal at Aston Villa, mixed with Manchester City being held at Nottingham Forest, put the Gunners back at the top of the table in yet another twist in the title race. 

After losing their match and their position as leaders to Man City in midweek, Arsenal showed character to come from behind twice and score two stoppage-time goals in a thrilling 4-2 victory at Villa Park.

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Ollie Watkins put Villa ahead in the fifth minute, scoring for the fourth match in a row, but Bukayo Saka equalised with a ferocious rising drive.

Philippe Coutinho's first goal of the season restored Villa’s lead, yet Arsenal responded again after the break through Oleksandr Zinchenko's low shot, his first-ever Premier League goal.

Arsenal missed some big chances, but then needed Aaron Ramsdale to tip Leon Bailey’s shot brilliantly on to the bar.

Mikel Arteta's men went ahead in the third minute of stoppage time as Jorginho’s long-range shot came off the bar and on to former Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez's head, before rebounding into the net.

Martinez went up in the eighth minute of stoppage time for a corner from which Arsenal broke away, with substitute Gabriel Martinelli walking the ball into an empty net to seal a first win in four matches that takes the Gunners top on 54 points, two clear of Man City.

Wood hits champions

That was because Man City were unable to convert their dominance into goals as they draw 1-1 at Forest. 

Bernardo Silva's fierce strike on 41 minutes had given City a deserved first-half lead. The champions had 23 shots, but it was an off day for their finishing, with even Erling Haaland missing good chances to add to his 26 league goals.

They were made to pay in the 84th minute when Morgan Gibbs-White crossed for substitute Chris Wood to tap in at the far post. 

The title race

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
1 Manchester City MCI 38 +61 89
2 Arsenal ARS 38 +45 84
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In a remarkable day at both ends of the table, all three teams in the relegation zone before the matches started beat the teams above them. 

Everton moved out of the bottom three, beating relegation rivals Leeds United 1-0 at Goodison Park, to make it back-to-back home wins under Sean Dyche.

Seamus Coleman's finish from a tight angle for his first goal in over a year was the difference. It took Everton up to 16th on 21 points, while managerless Leeds drop to 19th on 19 points.

AFC Bournemouth claimed a first victory since before the FIFA World Cup 2022 and Gary O'Neil was made permanent manager with a 1-0 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers.

Marcus Tavernier was the scorer of the only goal, converting Dominic Solanke's cross with his thigh to lift the Cherries to 17th on 21 points, two places and points below Wolves. 

Saints' double over Chelsea

Ruben Selles backed up his claim to be made the permanent Southampton manager as the caretaker boss oversaw a surprise 1-0 victory at Chelsea.

A superb free-kick from James Ward-Prowse, his 17th such goal in the Premier League, one short of David Beckham's record, in first-half stoppage time was enough to claim a first Premier League double over Chelsea, who were unable to convert a host of chances.

Southampton remain bottom but their 18 points are only three from safety. Chelsea remain 10th on 31 points, 10 behind the top four.  

The bottom six

Position Pos Club Played Pl GD Points Pts
15 Bournemouth BOU 38 -34 39
16 Nottingham Forest NFO 38 -30 38
17 Everton EVE 38 -23 36
18 Leicester City LEI 38 -17 34
19 Leeds United LEE 38 -30 31
20 Southampton SOU 38 -37 25
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Liverpool beat Newcastle again

Liverpool, the only team to beat Newcastle United this season prior to today, did so again as they defeated the 10-man Magpies 2-0 at St James' Park, ending the hosts' 17-match unbeaten run.

Outstanding goals from Darwin Nunez and Cody Gakpo stunned Eddie Howe's side inside the opening 17 minutes.

Things got worse for Newcastle five minutes later when goalkeeper Nick Pope failed to cut out a ball over the top for Mohamed Salah and was sent off after handling the ball outside his area. 

The home team battled well despite the disadvantage but could not stop Liverpool sealing back-to-back wins and climbing to eighth, on 35 points, six off Newcastle in fourth with a match in hand.

Solomon strikes

Fulham leapfrogged Brighton & Hove Albion to go sixth thanks to substitute Manor Solomon's late strike.

The Israeli scored in the 88th minute with Fulham's first shot on target in the match, a week after scoring his first Premier League goal. Fulham have 38 points, three more than Brighton.  

Bees' late sting

Vitaly Janelt's stoppage-time goal extended Brentford's unbeaten run to 11 matches as they fought back to draw 1-1 with Crystal Palace.

Eberechi Eze nodded in Michael Olise's clever cross on 69 minutes. But with almost the last kick of the match, Janelt headed in Bryan Mbeumo's cross to deny Palace a first win of the year.

They remain 12th on 26 points, while Brentford drop to ninth on 35 points. 

Double header on Sunday

On Sunday, Manchester United welcome in-form Leicester City, looking to close the gap on Arsenal to five points.

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They face a rejuvenated Leicester, who have scored eight goals in their last two matches.

Tottenham Hotspur are looking to recover from back-to-back defeats in the league and in the UEFA Champions League at home to West Ham United.

The Hammers need to avoid defeat to escape the relegation zone.

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